Roses Sugar Bible
Avery valuable essay on sugars remains "Roses Sugar Bible." It was originally published in Food Arts Magazine in April 2000." This award winning article by Rosie Beranbaum looks into modern sugars and their differences.
Beranbaum includes this handy chart:
"TEMPERATURES AND TESTS FOR SUGAR SYRUP
215°F. Thread: The sugar may be pulled into brittle threads between the fingers. This is used for candy, fruit liqueur making, and some icings.
220 to 222°F. Pearl: The thread formed by pulling the liquid sugar may be stretched. When a cool metal spoon is dipped into the syrup and then raised, the syrup runs off in drops which merge to form a sheet. This is used for making jelly.
234 to 240°F. Soft ball: Syrup dropped into ice water may be formed into a ball which flattens on removal from the water. This is used for extra light Italian meringue, fondant, fudge, peppermint creams, and classic buttercream.
244 to 250°F. Firm ball: Syrup dropped into ice water may be formed into a firm ball which does not flatten on removal from the water. This is used for light Italian meringue, caramels, nougats, and soft toffees.
250 to 266°F. Hard ball: Syrup dropped into ice water may be formed into a hard ball which holds its shape on removal but is still plastic. This is used for toffee, divinity, marshmallows, and popcorn balls.
270 to 290°F. Soft crack: Syrup dropped into ice water separates into thread which are hard but not brittle. This is used for Italian meringue for piping elaborate designs, butterscotch and taffy.
300 to 310°F. Hard crack: Syrup dropped into ice water separates into hard, brittle threads. This is used for brittle and for glacéed fruits.
320°F. Clear liquid: The sugar liquefies (all moisture is removed) and can start browning. This is used for making barley sugar (a candy).
338°F. Brown liquid: The liquefied sugar turns brown. This is used for light caramel.
356°F. Medium brown liquid: The liquefied sugar darkens. This is used for praline, spun sugar, caramel cages, and nougatine.
374°F. Dark brown liquid: The liquefied sugar darkens further. This is used for intensely flavored caramel cream sauce and as a coloring agent for sauces.
410°F. Black Jack: The liquefied sugar turns black and then decomposes.
She continues with these handy hints:
Different temperatures, ranging from 350°F. to 380°F. are suitable for different types of caramel. When making spun sugar, for example, too light a color would produce a ghostly effect and too dark a color would produce a brassy color when spun. When making a caramel sauce, however, 380°F. will offer a deeper more intense flavor. Over 380°F. and the caramel becomes unpleasantly bitter.
Recommended Temperatures for Caramel:
Pale amber 350°F to 360°F for a caramel cage.
Medium amber 360°F. to 370°F. for spun sugar.
Deep amber 370°F. to 380°F. for praline powder, caramels or caramel sauce. If using partially refined sugar, 360°F."